Clariant has announced that first quarter 2014 sales from continuing operations of CHF 1.492 billion compared to CHF 1.526 billion in the first quarter of 2013. This corresponds to an increase of 5% in local currencies. The 5% organic sales growth was driven by 4% higher volumes and an increase in prices of 1%.
Clariant believe that good sales growth in local currencies was strongly impacted by unfavourable currency developments in the emerging markets as well as in North America. The adverse currency environment implied a sales growth of 12% in Swiss francs, mainly due to the year on year weakness of the Brazilian real, Indian rupee, Japanese yen and US$.
Catalysis and energy business area
Sales in the first quarter of 2014 in the catalysis and energy business area increased 7% in local currencies and 1% in Swiss francs. Compared to the same quarter of the previous year there was good sales growth in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia/Pacific, with the latter benefitting from strong growth in China in the syngas and petrochemicals business.
Sales in speciality catalysts and syngas increased compared to the same period of the previous year while petrochemicals had a slower start to the year.
Sales in the startup business energy storage were above the prior year level. As in the previous quarter demand came primarily from China. Energy storage was able to optimise its cost base by closing a smaller production unit in St. Bruno, Canada, by the end of 2013. The business will continue to secure growth and reduce costs in order to achieve break even in 2015.
For the year, Clariant expects the business environment to remain challenging with heterogeneous global economic developments and volatile currency markets. The general economic environment in the emerging markets is expected to remain favourable but mixed, while moderate growth should continue in the advanced economies, in particular in the US. In this scenario, Clariant will focus on profitability growing the four Business Areas and on cost efficiency.
CEO, Hariolf Kottmann said, ‘Clariant had a promising start to the year with good volume growth and an increase in operating profitability. Overall, our business performed well in an improving but still mixed economic environment. The picture has been somewhat clouded by unfavourable currency developments, a mild winter in Europe, and an impairment charge related to the divestment of the ASK Chemicals joint venture. However, after the first thee months, Clariant is well on course to meet its full year targets.’
Adapted from press release by Claira Lloyd
Read the article online at: https://www.hydrocarbonengineering.com/gas-processing/02052014/clariant_2014_q1_results/